Mariners vs. Rangers Game 4
By: Willie Bee
Lo and behold! It's a 4-game series the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers are playing, not a 3-game set as I first thought. Don't fret, however. While I led you astray about the length of the series, my resolve to cover the clash in its entirety remains undeterred.
The Mariners and Rangers will wrap things up with an afternoon battle in Arlington, Tanner Scheppers hurling the first pitch at 2:05 PM (ET), and Texas is small chalk in the -115 to -125 range. Seattle is sending Erasmo Ramirez out to the mound with the game sporting a 9 run total according to SBR's live MLB odds.
A pitchers duel did indeed break out Wednesday night when Felix Hernandez and Yu Darvish hooked up in Game 3, and it was Hernandez the better arm until his defense and bullpen coughed it up. Down 2-0, the Rangers scored three late runs, the last one coming home on Leonys Martin's walk-off RBI single for the win.
M's Hope To Head To Miami On Winning Note
The defeat was Seattle's fourth in the last five games, the Mariners scoring only three times in those setbacks. They'll continue this 6-game roadie in Miami over the weekend.
Ramirez won his season debut at the Angels, then dropped his next two starts to the Athletics, the first in Oakland the most recent outing at home. He had flawless command in his first assignment, toiling for seven innings without allowing a while striking out six, but issued three free passes in both of his last two appearances.
Thursday will be just his second career start vs. the Rangers, the other coming last season in Texas with good results. Ramirez had his longest assignment of 2013 with seven innings and only two runs -- 1 earned -- charged to his ledger in a 4-3 M's victory.
Rangers Improve To
6-3 At Home
Scheppers is finding the transition from reliever to starter a bit difficult as the Rangers have lost all three of his starts while the former Fresno State star has pitched to a 7.88 ERA. Two of his three outings came on this mound, with the righthander allowing 12 runs in 11 combined innings.
He was outstanding out of the 'pen vs. Seattle a year ago, going 9.2 IP over 10 appearances and only one Mariner crossing the plate. Scheppers has yet to retire Justin Smoak in their careers, the Seattle first sacker 3-for-3 with 2 HR against him.
Texas improved to 6-3 at home with Wednesday's dubya, but the Rangers still aren't hitting with their 3.60 RPG tied for 24th in the majors. The key today will be Scheppers putting up a few zeroes early to settle in after a couple of rough starts in front of the home fans, and I believe he can do that while Texas batters give him some support. My free MLB pick will be on the home team.
My Pick: Rangers -115
Season: 14-13 (+0.05)
Mariners vs. Rangers Game 3
By: Willie Bee
At first glance, it's a stellar pitching matchup. But look deeper inside the numbers for both Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners and Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers, and there are signs this will not be the more common 2-1 pitchers duel that is easy to imagine.
The battle of aces brings is set for game 3 between the Mariners and Rangers with an 8:05 PM (ET) start in Arlington. Texas is presently priced as $1.25 chalk for a consensus moneyline, and SBR's live MLB odds is showing 7 (U-120) for the scoreboard tally at most betting outlets.
Hernandez and Darvish will each be trying to pitch his team to the win, the victor one step closer to staking claim to second place in the AL West. Texas knotted the series Tuesday night with a five-zip decision behind Robbie Ross' left arm and Prince Fielder's first home run in a Rangers uniform.
Hernandez Looks To
Shake Woes Vs. Rangers
King Felix is off to a 3-0 start to the season, and has been solid in each of his three assignments to date, all against AL West rivals. Two of the starts came on the road at Oakland and Anaheim, and he also beat the A's in Seattle last Friday night when he recorded his second 11-K performance of the young campaign.
Hernandez has had problems against the Rangers, however, going 12-20 lifetime vs. Texas with a 4.18 ERA. He made five starts vs. the Rangers in 2013, the Mariners only winning one of them while Hernandez pitched to a 7.57 ERA compared to 2.33 against the rest of the majors.
Rangers Aim To Break
Win One, Lose One Rut
Darvish missed the first week of the season, but has been almost untouchable since coming off his early DL stint. Now in his third MLB season, Darvish has yet to allow a run over the course of 15 innings, striking out 15 and walking just two.
Like Hernandez against Texas, Darvish has had his share of trouble facing the Seattle lineup. Seven career starts vs. the Mariners have yielded a 3-4 record for the Rangers while their ace posted a 4.78 ERA.
A cool evening with a few clouds is what the weatherman is calling for in North Texas on Wednesday. The thermometer should be in the mid-60s when Darvish delivers the first pitch, then drop into the upper-50s as the game progresses. Veteran umpire Ted Barrett should have plate duty for this one, and is off to an 0-2 O/U start to 2014 after a 13-21-1 O/U/P record a year ago.
Texas hasn't won consecutive games since the second and third contests of the season, and this would seem to be a fine spot for the Rangers to break the win-lose string they've been in. I'm going to find a 6.5 run total, however, and play the 'over' for my free MLB pick.
My Pick: Mariners-Rangers Over 6.5 (-130)
Season: 13-12 (+0.35)
Mariners vs. Rangers Game 2
By: Willie Bee
Colby Lewis' first start in about a year-&-a-half was going very well for five innings, the only mark against him a solo home run in the fifth. But then it all fell apart for both the righthander and the Texas Rangers when the Seattle Mariners broke things open with a 6-run sixth.
Seattle drew first blood in their series at Texas, handing rookie Roenis Elias his first major league victory and pushing the Mariners into second place in the AL West all by themselves. The M's now try and make it two in a row Tuesday behind Blake Beavan, who is making his first start of season after being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma.
Texas, meanwhile, looks to get its bats going and level the set with Robbie Ross on the hill. The Rangers are favored to do just that with SBR's live MLB odds listing them in the -132 to -142 range. A 9 run total has been posted, 'under' bettors required to pay a little extra.
Extra Mariners Fans
Expected In Stands Tonight
Less than half of the seats were filled in Arlington last night, the weeknight crowd possibly deterred by some bad weather in Texas on Monday. Some of those empty seats should be filled Tuesday with a few extra fans cheering for Seattle since the Mariners' starting pitcher hails from the area.
Beavan is basically taking the rotation slot that opened up when James Paxton went on the disabled list with a strained left lat muscle. The righthander, who grew up near Globe Life Park in Irving, Texas, was originally drafted by the Rangers in the first round of the 2007 selection process, then was part of the package they put together to send to Seattle during the 2010 season for Cliff Lee.
He broke camp a year ago in the M's rotation, making just two ineffective starts before being sent to the bullpen. By early July, he was demoted back to the minors with a 6.13 ERA in under 40 innings. Beavan has faced the Rangers seven times in his career -- 6 starts -- and owns a pretty impressive 2.84 ERA in 44.1 IP.
Rangers Score 1 Run For 3rd Time In 4 Games
Ross has two starts under his belt, not figuring into the decisions in either as Texas split the outings. The block-shaped lefty went five at home against Philadelphia on April 2, allowing three runs -- 2 earned -- and seven hits while striking out seven in an eventual 4-3 Rangers win. Last week in Boston, Ross worked into the sixth and allowed one unearned run while striking out six, the Red Sox eventually posting a 4-3 triumph.
He made eight relief appearances against the Mariners in 2013, combining to pitch eight innings and allowing three runs, two of those coming plateward on a Kyle Seager 10th-inning homer to suffer the loss in a July contest at Arlington.
Texas is struggling to score right now, Monday's contest marking the third time in four games the Rangers only plated one run. I think they can get enough to beat Beavan tonight, however, and am adding them to my free MLB pick list for Tuesday.My Pick: Rangers -135
Mariners vs. Rangers Game 1
By: Willie Bee
The history and rivalry between the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners doesn't get its due respect. This has been one of the most entertaining head-to-head series the past 20 years, and it's a damn shame more people haven't been following it, thanks in part to half of the games starting too late for the East Coast media to bother with covering.
The enmity between Texas and Seattle is renewed Monday night when the clubs get together for the first time on the 2014 slate. We'll be following the entire series here at SBR, and all three will carry 8:05 PM (ET) starts at Globe Life Park, aka the House That Dubya Built.
The big game is Wednesday's series finale when aces Felix Hernandez and Yu Darvish battle it out. Monday's series opener has a far less name recognition for the pitching duel as Roenis Elias takes the hill for the M's opposite Colby Lewis, who is making his first appearance on a major league mound since July 2012.
Texas' shift in its rotation has delayed the release of betting numbers for this contest. Check back a little later this morning to catch the opening lines on SBR's live MLB odds.
Rangers Look To
Extend Recent Dominance In Series
As mentioned, this has been a hotly-contested series for a while now, Texas owning a slim 168-167 edge since 1994 and going 96-74 on this diamond. The Mariners owned the first half of those 20 years, while the Rangers have won each of the last six season series, taking 12 of 19 in 2013.
Five of the nine played in the Lone Star State last season skipped past the total, leaving 'over' bettors 9-5 dating back to May 2012.
M's Begin Road Trip On
Seattle (6-5 straight up, +1.9 units) enjoyed a light schedule at home last week with five games and two days off, and the Mariners managed to win only two of the contests while hosting the Angels and Athletics. The offense went limp in the final two games of the homestand, combining for just one run in a pair of losses to Oakland.
Elias was originally ticketed for Triple-A this season, but injuries to Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker opened the door for the Cuban southpaw to break camp in Seattle's rotation. He made six spring appearances -- 3 starts -- with a 2.38 ERA along with a 1.28 WHIP in 22.2 innings, and has pitched well in his two regular season starts (10 IP, 3 ER) only to receive no support from Seattle hitters.
Rangers Lose Beltre
To Disabled List
Texas (6-6, -0.5) bounced back from a pair of series defeats at Tampa Bay and Boston to take two of three from Houston over the weekend. Both wins were of the 1-0 variety, and beating the Astros has become rather ho-hum for the Rangers who have a 38-8 record against their Lone Star State counterparts since the beginning of the 2009 campaign.
The Rangers are without slugging 3B Adrian Beltre who was placed on the 15-Day DL this past week due to a quad injury. Kevin Kouzmanoff is starting at the hot corner in Beltre's absence.
Lewis is coming back from hip surgery and made just one official minor league start along with extended spring training during his rehab. He last faced the Mariners in April 2012, working into the seventh and not allowing a run in that contest.
There is a cold front moving across Texas today, and it's expected to bring some rain before things clear out by nightfall. The front is also expected to leave behind some heavy winds from the NW in the 20-30 mph range (out to center). I'll be watching the for the total when it comes out, possibly making my free MLB pick on the 'over' once I see the number.
My Pick: No line
Season: 11-12 (-1.70)